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Eyes In The Skies: Bringing the Universe Down To Earth

Sunday, June 2, 2019
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

For the last half century we have slipped the surly bonds of earth with landers, rovers and spacecraft that have allowed us to touch the very edge of the Solar System and beyond. Voyager 1, launched in 1977, has entered interstellar space. The Parker Solar Probe will soon graze the Sun. We have visited and photographed all eight planets and their moons, and powerful space telescopes are seeking signs of life on thousands of planets we have discovered circling other stars. Capping it off, we now have the first image of a black hole, at the heart of a galaxy 55 million light years away. Join us for a trip across the cosmos, guided by renowned astronomers and space scientists whose spacefaring probes provide humankind’s sharply focused eyes in the skies.

The Big Ideas Series is supported in part by the John Templeton Foundation.


Caleb ScharfAstrophysicist

Caleb Scharf’s research career spans cosmology, exoplanetary science, and astrobiology. He currently leads efforts at Columbia University in New York to understand the nature of exoplanets and living environments in the universe.

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Farah AlibayAerospace Engineer

Dr. Farah Alibay is a systems engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Her primary projects so far have been the InSight Mars Lander, as well as its companion mission: the Mars Cube One (MarCO) CubeSats. Alibay is part of the team that helped build and test the spacecraft.

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Padi BoydAstrophysicist

Padi Boyd is the project scientist for the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) Mission (a NASA Explorer Mission launched in 2018), and chief of the Exoplanets and Stellar Astrophysics Laboratory in the Astrophysics Science Division, at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

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Jim IronsEarth Scientist

James R. Irons is director of the Earth Sciences Division at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). He leads over 1400 scientists and support staff, all dedicated to studying the Earth as an integrated system that includes the atmosphere, oceans, biosphere, cryosphere, and geosphere.

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Nour E. RaouafiAstrophysicst

Dr. Nour E. Raouafi is a solar physicist. He is the project scientist of NASA’s Parker Solar Probe mission. He obtained his PhD from the University of Paris XI. His research spreads over a wide range of solar and heliospheric areas with an emphasis on the dynamic solar corona via the analysis of spectral and imaging observations, theory, and modeling.

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